Reynolds 3-Part Test for Admissibility of Rule 404(b) Evidence

Reynolds 3-Part Test for Admissibility of Rule 404(b) Evidence

  1. militarydefenselawyers365The CAAF follows the 3-pronged test set out in United States v Reynolds when reviewing whether a military judge abused her discretion in admitting uncharged acts under Rule 404(b). 29 M.J. 105 (C.M.A. 1989). FIRST: Does the evidence reasonably support a finding that the appellant committed the prior crimes,
    wrongs, or acts?

    1. Identify the “other act” and show who did it. This is a question of conditional relevancy, and governed by Rule 104(b). The judge is required only to consider the evidence offered and decide whether the panel reasonably could find that the “similar act” was committed by the accused.
    2. In determining whether the government has introduced enough evidence,
      the trial court neither weighs credibility nor makes a finding that the
      government has proven the conditional fact by a preponderance of the
      evidence.The court simply examines all the evidence in the case and
      decides whether the panel members could reasonably find the conditional
      fact. See, Huddleston v. United States, 485 U.S. 681 (1988) (preliminary
      finding by the court that the government has proven the act by a
      preponderance of the evidence is not required by FRE 104(a); United
      States v. Castillo, 29 M.J. 145, 151 (C.M.A. 1989).
  2. Does the evidence make a fact of consequence in the case more or less
    probable? What inferences and conclusions can be drawn from the evidence? If
    the inference intended includes one’s character as a necessary link, the past bad
    act evidence is excluded.
  3. Is the evidence’s probative value substantially outweighed by the danger of
    unfair prejudice?